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Beer Albion 1st’s 1-2 Thorverton 1st’s

In front of a crowd of 100 and missing 5 first-team players unavailable through holidays and various other commitments, Beer Albion 1st’s lost narrowly 2-1 to an impressive Thorverton side in this Joma Devon and Exeter Premier Division match at the Furzebrake on Saturday writes Richard Honnor.

Under pressure for prolonged periods, the Fishermen remained on level terms at halftime thanks to a spirited defensive display. The game was much more evenly contested in the second period, but a late penalty cost Beer the point that their resolute performance deserved. One was left wondering what the result might have been if the Fishermen had been at full strength. After a couple of early Thorverton forays, Beer opened the scoring with their first attacking move on 4 minutes. A long clearance from keeper Elliot Driver was won in midfield by Taylor Rooke who headed forward into the path of Chris Long running towards the Thorverton goal. The Beer striker took the ball in his stride in the inside left channel and his clever lob from 18 yards beat the advancing Thorverton keeper. But less than a minute later, the Fishermen switched off and allowed Thorverton to equalise with a close-range strike from Luke Barner that Driver could only parry into his net. Thorverton then began to dominate possession in the first half with their right winger Aaron Land prominent, getting crosses into the danger area from the byline and hitting accurate cross-field passes to switch the play from right to left. But Beer showed great character in defence with sweeper Liam Cox in magnificent form ably supported by center-half Joe Adkin, cutting out much of the danger with well-timed tackles and interceptions. They were well backed-up by the rest of the team to the extent that keeper Driver only had one serious effort to deal with, a clean catch from a dangerous left-wing cross. Beer did create one really good chance on 22 minutes but Adkin, unchallenged, could not get full-headed contact on a free-kick whipped in by industrious midfielder Will House. After the break, the match was evenly contested but the Fishermen had Driver to thank on 58 minutes saving point-blank from visitor’s midfielder Kieron Smith when a goal seemed certain. Beer responded on 68 minutes when another great cross from House was met by Reece Best at the far post but the ball would not come down quickly enough for the Beer striker to get good contact and his effort was comfortably saved. Chances for both sides were few and far between but Driver was again tested on 77 minutes when Thorverton’s left-winger cut in from the left and shot powerfully from 15 yards but the Beer keeper was equal to the challenge. The winning goal came on 80 minutes when Beer at full stretch conceded a penalty as Thorverton broke through on goal. The spot-kick was coolly converted by Lee Radford to put the visitors 2-1 in front. The Fishermen launched a late assault on the Thorverton goal and almost equalised in the 91st minute but Chris Long was only able to poke George Harwood’s free-kick wide from 8 yards out. The match was contested in a good, competitive spirit and there were fine performances on both sides. Match Sponsor, Hansfords Funeral Services, nominated midfielder Kieron Smith as Thorverton’s best player but awarded overall man-of-the-match to Beer keeper Elliot Driver. Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s have a Premier Division fixture away to Okehampton Argyle 2nd’s. Meanwhile Beer 2nd’s host early Division 2 front-runners Tipton St. John. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Marine House at Beer.

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